Understanding The Legal Process

Charged With Shoplifting After Using A Self-Checkout Machine? Learn Common Defenses A Criminal Lawyer May Use To Defend You

by Eli Gregory

In an effort to cut costs, more and more stores are installing self-checkout machines. You go to one of these machines, scan all of the items in your basket, and then pay for those items. However, these machines are making headlines because people are being charged with shoplifting if they forgot to scan an item or thought they scanned something but the scanner didn't catch it. If you have been charged with shoplifting after using a self-checkout machine, a criminal lawyer can help you fight the charges you are facing. Here are a few of the common defenses that a criminal lawyer may raise in this type of situation. 

You Did Not Intend to Shoplift

One of the most common defenses being used if someone is charged with theft or shoplifting after using a self-checkout machine is that the individual did not intend to shoplift. You may have heard what you thought was your scanner beeping, when in reality, it was the scanner next to yours. Or you may have thought you scanned something but the computer did not pick it up. In most states, a prosecutor must prove you intended to steal to get a guilty conviction, which can be hard in these cases. 

You Were Not Properly Trained to Use the Self Checkout Equipment

Another common defense that a criminal attorney may raise in these types of cases is that you are not properly trained to use the equipment. As such, human error can happen and items may not get scanned that should have been scanned. Judges and juries have to decide how much human error they feel is acceptable, as mistakes can happen if someone is not trained to use this type of equipment. 

You Were Illegally Stopped or Detained

Finally, a criminal lawyer may state that you were illegally stopped, detained, and/or searched. If the stop and search were illegal, the case should be immediately dismissed. Sometimes, this is the best course of action, as this is a pretty cut-and-dry defense for a type of case that has a lot of gray areas. 

As technology becomes more prevalent, the laws as we know them are changing and adapting. This is being seen directly when it comes to shoplifting, as stores try to charge individuals with theft or shoplifting and shoppers fight back claiming human error or that they are not properly trained to use the equipment. If you have been charged with shoplifting or theft after using a self-checkout machine, reach out to a criminal lawyer as soon as possible. They can work to defend you against the charges you may be facing.